Jaipur

One of the most popular cities of India on the International Tourism map is the heritage city of Jaipur. It is the capital of Rajasthan, the state reminiscent of royalty and exuding a regal aura even in the modern times. Jaipur is also known as the ‘Pink City’ because Maharaja Man Singh II ordered his city painted a pretty pink in honour of the visiting Prince of Wales in 1876. The city abounds in heritage sites and provides a plethora of shopping opportunities.
City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Amber Fort, Sisodia Palace and Garden and Jal Mahal Palace are some fascinating monuments that offer a walk through time. Birla Temple, Govind Devji Temple, Jai Niwas Bagh, Ram Niwas Garden and zoo, Government Central Museum, Dolls Museum and Wonderland Amusement Park are other places of interest. A visit to Chokhi Dhani an ethnic village resort is a unique experience and takes one through the rich and vivid culture of the state including bullock cart rides, puppet shows, parrot fortune teller, Kalbeliya Dance, and not to forget the authentic Rajasthani culinary dishes.
Boating at Ramgarh Lake, hot air ballooning, sky diving and camel and elephant safaris are also some activities that can be experienced in Jaipur. The pink city is well connected by air, rail and road.
Best time to visit: October to March
Languages spoken: Dhundhari, Hindi, English
Climate: Hot and dry summers and a cold sometimes freezing winter.
Heritage Sites: City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Amber Fort, Sisodia Palace and Garden, Jal Mahal Palace
Fun places and Knowledge centres: Chokhi Dhani, Jai Niwas Bagh, Ram Niwas Garden and zoo, Government Central Museum, Dolls Museum, Wonderland Amusement Park
Holy places: Birla Temple, Govind Devji Temple
Activities and Adventure Tourism: Boating at Ramgarh Lake, hot air ballooning, sky diving, camel safari, elephant safari

Road Travel Reminiscences – Delhi to Ajmer via Jaipur

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So, we moved ahead and found the third jewel of this marvelous city, i.e., Hawa Mahal. Standing tall and illuminated, this Mahal had seen off the day of crowded markets and polluted vehicles. The Hawa Mahal told me… “O Traveller! I was built for providing cool air and shelter. My structure was befitting the queens. Pollution is that I am smoking everyday and night, days after days, years after years and generations after generations.” I consoled him in my mind and said “O worthy Palace! Soils made you and soils you would become….The respect you get is the respect you deserve. Stand tall till your strength permits”.

After meeting with the three jewels of this great city, we drove ahead towards the new township. The Janpath of Jaipur leads to the mighty building of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, the seat of power in democracy. It was almost 11 pm and we had to take rest for the journey next day. Still, I stopped in the middle of the Janpath. The building was trying to say something. It told me… “O Travellor! I am the power today. Don’t you agree? Or, dare not disagree.” I smiled in my mind and replied “O worthy building! Come to me after 150 years. I will see you with pride and anoint you with my tears, if your power still remained intact”.

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Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 1

Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 1

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But leaving the roads apart, when I entered Chand Baori, a WOW just came out from my mouth. I mean Neemrana Stepwell was massive, but this one is like some aliens came to build it. This stepwell is enormous and mind-blowing & now I understand that why a scene of Batman 2008 was filmed here. There is no parallel of such structure in India.

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Golden Triangle – Bharatpur, Jaipur

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Once it came, there was lot of confusion about the number of buses, seats etc. and it ate away lot of precious time. We eventually got seats in the front of the bus. The bus then went around picking up people from RTDC hotels. Anyways, once everyone settled we began the tour. Our guide was an interesting character to be seen apart from the attractions. He wore a listening device in ear, kohl in eyes, safari suit with a hat and broken english. We visited Hawa Mahal but did not stop, then Jantar Mantar, City Palace and then a handicraft store.

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Jovial Jaipur…

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As we came out of the hotel, It started raining but we were prepared for this. We took out our Rain-coats and started our exploration. In the market we bargained with an Auto wala and for Rs 600 he agreed to took us to various places including Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Amer Fort and Chokhi Dhani. First of all we went to check out the famous Hawa Mahal of Jaipur. Hawa Mahal is a palace built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, so named because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside.

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Kaila Devi Darshan – The deity of Durga Ma

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After crossing the Karauli town, you will get the picturesque location of hills on left and the Kalisil River on the right side. Karauli is now extended sanctuary of Rathambore and is renamed as a Kaila Devi wildlife sanctuary. Your tiredness of 300KM journey vanishes from the picturesque location.

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Amer – The Pride of Rajputana : Part 2

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Sukh Niwaas, which is opposite to ‘Diwaan-e-Khaas’ having doors made of sandal wood and ivory. There is a channel running through the hall, which carried cool water that worked as an air cooler, with the aid of breeze. In this artistic hall cool climate was artificially created. It is said that the kings used to spend time in this Sukh Niwaas with their queens and sometimes with their mistresses that is why it is known as the residence of pleasure.

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In memories : Jaipur, the Pink City (Part 1)

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Jaipur is renowned for its colorful markets, gorgeous handlooms and wonderfully laid out gardens. The people are very cheerful and friendly. Don’t forget to try the famous Rajasthan delicacies including the thali. Rajasthani arts and handicrafts are things that you can’t afford to miss.

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Getting lost in Sambhar Lake

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On the way back, we drove the entire distance over lake only. Trying to absorb more of that dry-dusty frame. We also learned that ‘Jodha Akbar’ was shot here and apparently they created the entire war set here. Another movie, this time of junior Bacchan was shot in the main town. We dropped the Sambhar Salts gentleman back after thanking him for all his help and started back.

As we were driving back, I was thinking that how long the lake would remain like that. Probably 50 years down the line, this story would look like a legend. May be the area would get habituated, the land would be reclaimed to build SEZs and factories or may be the new Jaipur Airport. Who can imagine a 230 sq KM dry lake which is open for driving. You tell that to your grandkid and he would laugh it off. Go and look at it before it vanishes.

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आमेर दुर्ग : चल खुसरो घर आपने….

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राजस्थान पर्यटन विभाग की तरफ से यहाँ आपको सपेरे, शहनाई वादक और सारंगी वादक बजाने वाले, कई लोक कलाकार अपनी कला का प्रदर्शन करते भी मिल जायेंगे, हालांकि पहली नज़र में आपको ऐसा लग सकता है, कि यह सब पर्यटकों के मनोरंजन और उन्हें आकर्षित करने के लिये है, और इस से राजस्थान की संस्कृति झलकती है, लेकिन यदि आप जरा गौर से सोचें तो आपको इसके पीछे की सोच और मानसिकता पर हैरानी ही होगी | मेरी अपनी समझ से, इस सबका कुल मनोरथ यहाँ आने वाले उन यूरोपियन पर्यटकों के दिलों में बसी हिन्दुस्तान की उस छवि को पुख्ता भर करने से ज्यादा और कुछ नही है, जिसके वशीभूत वो आज भी हिन्दुस्तान को सपेरों, जादूगरों और मदारियों का देश ही समझते हैं, उनकी इन मान्यतायों और पूर्वाग्रहों को सच साबित करने के लिये ही, ऐसे कलाकार यहाँ बैठाये जाते हैं, जिनके साथ आप फोटो खिचँवा कर जब वापिस अपने देश पहुँचते हैं तो वहाँ के समाज को ऐसे चित्र दिखा कर साबित कर सकते हैं कि वास्तव में ही भारत आज भी उस दौर में ही है, जैसा कभी हमारे पूर्वज छोड़ कर आये थे ! इन सबके अलावा, इस दुर्ग में ही अलग-अलग दिशायों में खुलने वाले प्रवेश द्वारों में से त्रिपोलिया दरवाज़ा सबसे ज्यादा प्रसिद्ध है, क्यूंकि यहाँ से तीन जगहों के लिये रास्ता निकलता है, जिनमे से एक रास्ता आमेर शहर की तरफ भी है |

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Indolent weekend in the Charismatic Chokhi Dhani

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How can a Jaipur trip be concluded without some shopping? We grabbed a local cab (can be booked from the resort reception only) and requested him to get to a single good place where most of the things are available. Unlike many of the Indian tourist places, drivers and guides in Rajasthan are still unbiased and reliable. He took us to a factory outlet, where they produce staff at the two levels of basement and have three floors of retail and wholesale shop. Got a good bargain of various stuff there. Some of the materials are also available in the resort itself, but as you can imagine those are unreasonably costly and very small collections as compared to the outside outlets.

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चोखी-ढाणी, पुलिया और राम-राम सा का देस: जयपुर

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बात जब सड़क की हो रही है तो ट्रेफ्फिक और पुलिस की भी कर लें, यूँ लगता है जैसे जयपुर का सारा पुलिस अमला केवल परिवहन की व्यवस्था के लिए ही जिम्मेदार हो ! और ऐसे में यदि आपकी गाडी की नम्बर-प्लेट हरियाणा की है तो सावधान रहिये ! सीट-बेल्ट, मोबाइल पर बात करना, रेड लाइट पार कर जाना… भले ही आपके आस-पास से राजस्थान की अनेक गाड़ियाँ निकल जाएँ पर रोका केवल आपको ही जाएगा ! जयपुर में ऐसे बहुत से खट्टे-मीठे अनुभव हुए और कई बार तो ना चाहते हुए कुछ समझौते भी करने पड़े, एक तो पराया शहर, ऊपर से गाड़ी किसी और की… अपना शहर हो तो झेल भी लें पर यहाँ… समय की भी बंदिश है, परिवार भी साथ है, और इस कमज़ोर नस को हमारे भाई लोग भी बखूबी पहचानते हैं… एक बार तो थक हार कर एक हवलदार से तंज़ भी करना पड़ा, यूँ तो कहते हो ‘पधारो म्हारे देस’ और जब कोई सचमुच पधार ही जाये तो सारे मिलकर उसे लूटने में ही लग जाते हो…. बहरहाल ये बातें तो देश के हर हिस्से में हर किसी के साथ घटती ही रहती हैं, तो आइये अब आगे बढ़ते हैं…

चलिए ऐसा करते हैं, ज़रा शुरू से शुरुआत करते हैं, सोमेश एक छोटे भाई के अलावा एक बेहतरीन मेहमान नवाज़ भी निकला और साफ़ कह दिया कि बिना नाश्ते के नही जाना, दो-दो भाभियाँ हैं मिलकर बना लेंगी बाकी दिन भर आप जो मर्जी खाते रहना और फिर उसने हमे एक कागज़ पर घूमने की जगहों के अलावा उन सभी मशहूर जगहों और खान-पान के ठिकानों का पता भी दे दिया जो जयपुर में अपनी विशिष्टता रखते हैं ! इनमे से सबसे बेहतरीन था ‘स्टेचू सर्कल’ पर रात को क़ाफ़ी पीते हुये ‘हैंग आउट’ करना, जिसे आप जयपुर का मिनी इंडिया-गेट भी कह सकते हैं | सवाई जय सिंह का बुत लगा यह चौक स्थानीय तथा पर्यटकों के लिये एक प्रमुख आकर्षण का केंद्र है |

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